February 13, 2013

The Small Miracle : Sri Lanka - Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Continuation from here ...

I actually wanted to go to Nuwara Eliya, the main hill resort of Sri Lanka and the heart of the tea industry. Located at an elevation about 2000m, the city has a cool mountain climate and is surrounded by lush tea plantations.

It is only around 70km from Kandy, but yeah.. time was our biggest enemy so we didn't go there. :(  #reasontorepeat

Another #reasontorepeat is to experience the train ride from Colombo to Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. I read on the Internet that it is best to go to these two cities by train as the views are amazing and probably one of the greatest experience in Sri Lanka. 

Someday.. hopefully!

Anyway... today we're heading to Pinnawala. It's only around an hour's drive from Kandy and well known for its elephant orphanage.

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground; which was originally founded in 1975 to care for orphaned baby elephants found in the forest. 

We arrived there around 9.40 am and Rammuni urged us to be quick. He said we're going to miss the bottle feeding session. After buying the tickets, we quickly went in and managed to catch the last calf being bottle fed.

There are more than 70 elephants in the orphanage, some were roaming freely while some were chained. I guess those chained were the aggressive ones. 

Nearing 10 am, Rammuni signaled us to follow him out from the orphanage. It was almost time for the bathing session so the full herd would leave for the river anytime soon. This orphanage attracts quite a lot of visitors daily so he wanted to make sure we got the best view.

Oya River

Here they come!

I wanna bathe... lalala~

It was lovely to watch them having fun, splashing each other in the river. Though some of them, mostly the old ones I guessed, just stood in the river. Not sure if that's the way they enjoyed themselves or if they were obliged by the handler.

lovey-dovey level 1

lovey-dovey level 2.. haha

Basically, their daily routine is like this.

0915 : Bottle feeding
1000 : Splashing time!!
1200 : Return from the river
1315 : Bottle feeding
1400 : I stink I need another bath!
1600 : Return from the river
1700 : Bottle feeding

There's an elephant dung shop on the street towards the river. It was quite interesting. 

The poo will be turned into papers. Recycle FTW!

I actually had mixed feeling as we walked back towards the van leaving the area. It was wonderful seeing the elephants up close, but at the same time I felt sorry for them. They must be bored with the routine, marching back and forth to the river for the bathing session. And those elephants always in chains, they expressed many signs of captive stress. Pity them. :(

But in a good way, the proceeds from the entrance ticket goes to the welfare of them elephants. 

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is open daily.
The site opens from 8.30 am to 6 pm. 
Entrance fee is Rs2000.


My name starts with M said...

apa? naik train? nuwara eliya? adams peak? kandy? nak ikut!!!

#kthxbai :P

p/s: ive voted! :D

rara said...

mas: jommmm!! tapi aku nak pegi nepal dulu kot. hehehe.. oh thanks for voting!

Minu Marie Mathew said...

is it Sri lankan rupee? Rs.2000?

rara said...

@Minu Marie Mathew: Yes. It is Sri Lankan rupee.

Vijay Krishna said...

The article was very useful! Thanks a lot.

Are camera charges extra other than the entrance fee?

rara said...

@Vijay Krishna: Hi. There's no extra charge for camera. However if you bring professional video equipment, they charge Rs1500.